CEDAR CITY — Hundreds of people showed up at the Maverik Center in West Valley City Monday to pay their respects to Unified Police Officer Doug Barney, many of them law enforcement officers from across the country there to remember the life of their fallen brother.
The local law enforcement community in Iron County also sent their share of representation north to pay tribute and took with them 500 blue-ribbon brooches to pin on their fellow brothers and sisters. Click above to watch slideshow.
Several of the officers’ wives from Iron County spent most of the day Saturday cutting, gluing and tying the blue ribbons together to get them ready for the funeral.
The project was a statewide effort organized by the Police Wives of Utah who had asked for 3,000 brooches for the funeral. They received 7,500.
The local effort generated more than 500 blue ribbons and of those, many were given to local law enforcement agents.
“We handed out the blue ribbons to the local law enforcement who weren’t able to go to the funeral so they could wear them Monday in support of Officer Barney,” Melinda Berg, wife of Enoch Police Sgt. Mike Berg, said
The rest traveled north with the officers and the wives where they were handed out to the law enforcement community who attended Barney’s funeral.
“It was really special to pin the blue ribbons on the officers. We started handing them out and everybody wanted them,” Kimber Dunn, wife of Enoch Police Officer Jeremy Dunn, said. “Some of them struggled to get them on so we were helping them and it was just really cool. I was really grateful.”
The Iron County wives who made the ribbons said it was a wonderful opportunity for them to show their support of not only a fallen hero but also their husbands.
“As a law enforcement wife you want to help them any time there’s a chance,” Lechelle Pollock, wife of Cedar City Police Cpl. Clint Pollock, said.
The activity also helped to bring the women together, they said, many of whom hadn’t known each other before Saturday.
“There is a camaraderie. Just like there is a brotherhood, there is a connection with the wives and spouses that is just as powerful,” Melinda Berg said.
For those women who attended the funeral, many described the day’s events as heartfelt, overwhelming, special and amazing.
“The whole thing was breathtaking as I helped pin blue ribbons on all different officers today, Lechelle Pollock said. “I couldn’t help but feel mesmerized (by) the brotherhood of the men and women in blue. They stand by each other through good and the worst times. It’s truly amazing and I’m so blessed to be a part of it.”
Besides the blue-ribbon brooches pinned on the men and women, thousands of donated American flags and more blue ribbons lined the procession route Monday, many of the flags outside the Maverik Center. News outlets reported around 50 volunteers had put them out Sunday in preparation for the day’s events.
There were banners waving in the wind made by people in the crowd who had written heartfelt messages to the Barney family and in support of the men and women who protect their community.
Even the local high school students were excused from school at 1 p.m. so they could stand with the community to say their goodbyes.
“We went with the succession and followed the police and it was incredible to see all the support. People had signs and banners of support. It’s great to know there’s support for our cops and that the community loves our cops. Everybody was so supportive,” Kimber Dunn said.
Two Unified Police officers were shot on Jan. 17, Barney in the head and Jon Richey several times in the leg and torso, when the two made a traffic stop in connection with an earlier hit-and-run accident in Holladay. Read the report here. Richey is recovering from his injuries.
Unified Police Department has published the following information for those wishing to make donations for the benefit of the Barney and Richey families:
We are extremely grateful to those who have donated, or plan to donate, to Officer Barney’s family, Benefit accounts have been created on behalf of the Barney and Richey Families. Those wishing to donate can do so at America First Credit Union under the Doug Barney Memorial Account and the Jon Richey Charitable Account or contact AFCU at 1-800-999-3961.
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